Toro Wheel Horse 520

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by TheGrassGuy, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. TheGrassGuy

    TheGrassGuy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I have a chance to purchase either a '92 or '94 model Toro Wheel Horse Garden Tractor. I have one commercial account that is taking me about 3 hours with a Toro 21". My other accounts are small and take about 30 - 40 minutes. I don't want to spend a lot of money for this account and run the risk to lose it next year and that is why I am considering these machines. I also realize they are not true commercial machines but if all goes well I will have the money to upgrade.

    I have access to the complete history of the machines and have spoke to the people who operated them (municipal) and have recomendations of which to buy (there are 4 in all). They have 20 hp Briggs and Stratton engines, choice of 48" or 60"deck, hydrostatic transmission, from 600 to 1000 hours and good tires.

    Anyone have experience with these? I am leaning towards the 48" deck (less scalping?). Or could I install a couple new rollers?

    Any help appreciated.
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    We have a '93 520H with 900 some odd hours on it. They didn't sink so low as to use B&S engines, they came with Onan twins. Maybe someone swapped them out but I dont' know why.
    Ours hasn't had anything done to it at all. It has a 48" mower (side discharge) and a 36" tiller. Both work awesome. It is a great tractor but you can't compare apples and oranges, in other words try to find a good used commercial mower maybe 36 or 48" wide or so. If you're still wanting this tractor I will tell you all the pros and cons about it. We have had it for 4 years now it came with this house when we got it. We have 2 hilly acres we use it on and a 1/10th acre garden. It's a great garden tractor.
    Cuts excellent at 2.5" and higher (I mow with it at 3", highest setting). Any lower and you will probably have scalping problems unless it's a really level lawn.
    Stripes excellent with the 48" deck. Couldn't ask for a better cut. The seat is really nice and it has a really nice spring on it. The tires (Dico Turf Trac) are great as well as they cushion bumps pretty well and get good traction even on my hills. The tractor is very stable and heavy duty. If it has the Onan engine, you should see at least 2,000 hours even if it hasn't been taken care of. Alot more if it has. The steering has good gears in it, it steers easy and fairly fast. Can steer with one hand easily. The hydro is nice. Try to get a foot pedal for it (I think you can order a kit from a Toro dealer maybe??) I made one homemade but I dont' recommend trying to make one at all. It is alot nicer than the lever on the column. I can go on and on about the good stuff about this tractor. Can still get parts for it at any Toro dealer.

    Now the Cons:
    It has a larger steering radius than alot of garden tractors.
    Can't think of any more off the top of my head. LOL. As you can see I love it. But you can't compare it to a commercial ZTR mower. It is commercial duty, built heavy, but not built to be effecient at mowing. It is meant for doing dozens of tasks not just one. You can get attachments for it at a Toro dealer too. New ones made for 300 series classic tractors fit it. Any more questions just email me at
    I would recommend it as a garden tractor but not as a productive, effecient mowing machine. It does have a great cut and stripe with the 48" deck and I'm sure the cut quality is no less on the 60" deck. The 20hp should be plenty of power on the 60" deck and it's more than enough on my 48".
    Hope this helps you some,
  3. TheGrassGuy

    TheGrassGuy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    Thanks for the comments. I only plan on using this for mowing - not looking for attachments. I like to mow at 3" so seems like it should be fine.
  4. nu83

    nu83 LawnSite Member
    from omaha
    Messages: 238

    Well said Bushhog, I used one on my parents house growing up and still have it. They are good machines, but like you said not very productive as far as commercial mowing.

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